The awakening of international conscience is necessary in order to rewrite the law of virtues, to remind people of their human rights and that they are legal privileges for every human being. – Sh Abdullah bin Bayyah
[The following are excerpts from Priorities for the Islamic Movement by Sh. Yusuf Qaradawi]
What I Fear for the Islamic Movement
My worst fear for the Islamic Movement is that it opposes the free thinkers among its children and close the door to renewal and ijtihad confining itself’ to only one type of thinking that does not accept any other viewpoints which prescribe different objectives. means or phases for the Movement, give a different assessment of events, situations or men, or differ with that single way of thinking in any other of the pursuits that fall under human ijtihad. For human ijtihad is always subject to development and change according to the changing conditions and factors.
A Futuristic Ideology
One of the characteristics of the ideology we want for the Islamic Movement is that it is a futuristic ideology that always looks into the future and does not confine itself to the present. It is not strange that the Islamic Movement should care about the future, for this is the logic of Islam, as manifested in the Quran and the Sunna.
Some verses were aimed at preparing the Muslim mentality and psychology for the inevitable change and the awaited future. At the world level, we find the Holy Quran speaking of that historic conflict between the two super powers of their time: the Romans and the Persians, a conflict that the two groups in Mecca: the Muslims and the Unbelievers, were concerned about.
Omar took into account the welfare of coming generations,
which is a wonderful act of mutual dependence among the generations of the Muslim nation, so that one generation may not live in luxury at the expense of a coming generation or generations. Omar’s argument in so doing was based on the verse of Surat AlHashr which stipulated the distribution of the war booty between the Muhajirin and the Ansar: “And those who came after them” (10) Imam Ibn Qudama explained the difference between the action of the Prophet and that of Omar by saying that each had done what was most appropriate for his time.
The Necessity Of Islamic Presence In The West
I believe that it is necessary for Islam in this age to have a presence in such societies that affect world politics. Islamic presence is necessary in Europe, the Americas and Australia for several reasons, including the following:
1. Islamic presence is required for spreading the Message of Islam and getting Islam’s voice heard among non-Muslims through good word, rational dialogue and exemplary conduct.
2. It is required for taking in new Muslims in order to follow their conduct and nurture their belief in an Islamic environment that helps them lead a healthy Islamic life.
3. It is required for receiving newcomers to Western countries, such as scholars and immigrants, so that such newcomers may find themselves among people like the “Ansar” [the people of Medina who received the Prophet well and supported him at the time of hijrah] who love those who migrate to their land and provide for them an atmosphere of Islam.
4. It is required for defending the causes of the Muslim Nation and the Muslim Land against the antagonism and misinformation of anti-Islamic forces and trends.
Dialog between Ideologies
Now that the Islamic Movement has attained its zenith and broadened its base, it should address itself to those who differ with it in ideology and trend and not leave them to their old, inherited ignorance and mistrust of Islam and its advocates without trying to provide them with guidance or light their path. It is high time for the Islamic Movement to abandon its self-imposed isolation, so that it may regard all Muslims as part of it and enter with them into a dialogue between itself and them first and then between itself and them on one side and opposing, even antagonistic, parties on the other side. Perhaps the rational, quiet, academic dialogue will make the reluctant become sure, give confidence to the uncertain, calm down the anxious, and maybe even alleviate the animosity of those with a grudge.
The Dialogue With Rational Westerners
Another important dialogue is required from the Islamic Movement, despite the fact that the path of such a dialogue will be strewn with difficulties and obstacles: it is the dialogue with the West. There are several differences between us and the West. There is a difference of religion, as the West is predominantly Christian while we are Muslim. There is difference of trend, for the West is materialistic and realistic but we are spiritual and idealistic. There is difference of politics, because the West is, in most cases, on the side of Israel and against us, though this attitude may differ in its strength from one Western country to another.
However, we cannot do without a dialogue with the West. It is the West that has been ruling the world for centuries and it owns the civilization that prevails in our contemporary world, whether we like it or not. It ruled our countries and occupied our land for varying duration, then left voluntarily or against its will, but still affects us directly or indirectly, and influences our decision makers one way or another. Its influence on the minds and wills of our rulers cannot be denied, either.
Moreover, it is no longer possible for a group of people to live alone with its creed and principles, isolated from the world around it, in its own Utopia. The fluid technological changes in the field of communications have actually made the world a “global village” as one writer said. Therefore, a dialogue with the West is a farida and a must for us.
The Necessity Of Full-Time Work On The Movement’s Duties by Competent Individuals
The Movement should take every care in its future planning to ensure that a number of competent individuals work full-time in all the strategic and important positions, particularly in the fields of science, knowledge, education, information and mass media, politics and planning. The Movement should not remain dependent only on part-time volunteering by persons who have their own jobs that monopolize their time, leaving only snatches on which no major undertaking can be based.
The Islamic Movement In The Field Of Propaganda And Public Knowledge
The Islamic Movement In The Field Of Propaganda Horizontal Expansion
The Islamic Movement should work hard for extending its activity to all the groups and classes of the community, and for spreading horizontally by nurturing the public Islamic Awakening. This way, no place in social life will be empty of the Movement’s presence and activity. The Movement’s message will be everywhere, and its soldiers and children will be there, with many times their number in followers, supporters and advocates. This can only be achieved through working in the field of information and mass media in such an organized and well planned manner that makes use of the latest innovations and technologies of information and mass media that science has reached so far. Such work should draw on the Western and Eastern capabilities and tools as much as it can and whenever they are found, so long as they would lead to the achievement of aspired aims, for (A good believer should always seek the word of wisdom. Whenever he finds it, it is he who should get it). The Movement should use the help of specialized experts who know how to address the public as a whole and each group separately, and are well versed in the sciences of psychology, sociology, politics and mass communication and in how to put them to service in the best interests of the Movement and Islam.
How Should the Islamic Awakening Deal with the Cultured?
The approach of the Islamic Awakening to the cultured elite should take two directions: the curative and the preventive. The curative approach is a remedy of the wrong concepts harbored by the cultured, by bringing them around through quiet, objective, academic argument, not through insults, beating about the bush or enthusiastic eloquence. It guides them to the documented sources from which they can know what they should know about Islam, its Book, its Prophet, its Creed, its Shari’ah, its history and its culture.
The second approach, the preventive, aims at establishing a sound, documented Islamic culture that combines academic accuracy with clear expression. The purpose of such a culture is to give adequate doses of understanding of Islam and rectify those wrong concepts that have proliferated among the cultured.
The Islamic Movement will be successful only when it manages to make the people move with it, supporting its cause, getting angry at what angers it, feeling pleased with what pleases it, appreciating its stances and efforts and cursing its enemies. It will be successful when it focuses its efforts on merging into the people, running through them like blood through veins, and mingling with them, like body with soul and vision with eyes, so that each cannot be separated from the other. This will be possible only when the Islamic Movement adopts the causes of the people and reacts to their feelings, feeling joy at their happiness and becoming sad at their grief, sharing in their bitter and worse times, and becoming one with them.
Telling of the Truth, Not Anesthetizing With Dreams
Our belief in the people and faith in the power of the masses should not make us mislead them away from bitter reality, or anesthetize them with hollow dreams. The advocates and intellectuals of the Islamic Movement should tell the Nation about its diseases as these diseases actually are, not hide them as people do with those who are afflicted with incurable diseases. They should give the people the facts, even though such facts may be bitter, not feed them rosy dreams without trying to bring these dreams to reality. Muslim Sufi educationists have distinguished between hope and wish, saying, “Hope is what is coupled with work, otherwise it is a wish”! Hope is the motive of believers, but wish is the craft of those who have nothing to do. The Quran says to those who claim that the Garden is theirs alone, although they neither believe nor strive: “Those are their [vain] desires. Say, ‘Produce you proof if you are truthful’” (Al-Baqara: 111) Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib said to his son Al-Hassan, “Beware of depending [totally] on wish. Wish is the stock of fools”!
Experts and faithful supporters of the Call agree that there is something that is more important than building mosques: it is the building of people, men who build civilizations, win victory for messages, achieve hopes, establish prayer in mosques and realize progress in institutions.
The Necessity of a Measure of Proper Sufi Education
A measure of proper Sufi education based on the Quran and Sunna is in order here, as it would help in shaping a religious character whose owner would put Allah before Allah’s creation, the Hereafter before earthly life and the motives of religion before the motives of desire. Not all Sufism is evil as some would imagine. Neither are all Sufists misled as claimed by those who lack in knowledge or fairness. Sufists are like other groups, as Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymia said in his treatise entitled “Al-Fuqara”‘ [the Poor]. He said about them, “Among them you find the straightforward and the deviant; the one who wrongs his own soul, the one who follows a middle course, and th e one who is, by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds”. Of course, we reject all the fallacies of philosophical Sufism (including such tenets as: hulul” divine incarnation” and ijtihad “mystic communion with God”), ecstatic utterances of heretic Sufists and the deviations of money oriented Sufism. What we really seek is the pure, quintessential Sufism of the pioneer Sufists, such as Al-Hassan Al-Basri, Al-Fudayl Ibn lyad, Ibrahim Ibn Adham, Abu Sulayman Al-Darani, Abul Qasim Al-Junayd and others like them. We seek the sunnite Sufism that follows a balanced line of Quran and Sunna the Sufism that cares about the “piety of hearts” before it concerns itself with the “acts of the organs of the body”. It is said in the sound hadith that.. “Allah shall not look at your bodies or your fac es, but rather into your hearts”
A Special Institute for Preparing Leaderships
I suggest, for this purpose, that an institute be established for preparing Islamic leaders. Its students should be selected from among the faithful talented elements who possess the required mental, psychological, behavioral and belief related qualities. They should also be recommended by prominent figures known to be good judge of men. They should also sit for written and oral examinations of various kinds before they are admitted to this institute.
A Scientific Ideology
The ideology on which our aspired education is based has specific features that should be sought and established by teachers and driven home by educational curricula. First, this ideology is scientific in the full sense of the word. By ” scientific “, we do not mean that it is scientific as related to abstract and applied sciences though they are a field that should be sought by Muslims by all means but rather that it is an ideology that would not accept any claim without proof, any result without preamble, any evidence without documentation or any preamble that is not totally free from suspicion. We want “scientific thinking” and scientific spirit” to guide our life in every way, so that we may view things, issues, situations and people in a scientific way, and pass our tactical and strategic decisions on issues related to economy, politics, education and other fields with a scientific mentality that is free from the influence of emotions, improvisation, ego-centrism, herd effect and the many diversified pretexts given for everything today.
Some Practices that Run Against Scientific Ideology
It is against the scientific way of thinking to oversimplify complicated issues, underrate serious issues, view difficult problems with an alarming superficiality or deal with major issues with the mentality of the uneducated and the practices of the dervishes.
4. The Right to a Basic Standard of Life Speaking about the economic rights the Holy Quran enjoins upon its followers: And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and destitute. (51:19) The words of this injunction show that it is a categorical and un- qualified order. Furthermore this injunction was given in Makkah where there was no Muslim society in existence and where generally the Muslims had to come in contact with the population of the disbelievers. Therefore the clear meaning of this verse is that anyone who asks for help and anyone who is suffering from deprivation has a right in the property and wealth of the Muslims; irrespective of the fact whether he belongs to this nation or to that nation, to this country or to that country, to this race or to that race. If you are in a position to help and a needy person asks you for help or if you come to know that he is in need, then it is your duty to help him. God has established his right over you, which you have to honour as a Muslim.
2. The Need for the Fiqh of Factual Experience: The second level is a rather positivistic fiqh based on the study of contemporary reality – a study that is careful, comprehensive and dependent on the most accurate information and statistics. However, we have to warn here against misleading and unrealistic figures based on propaganda leaflets, inadequate information and questionnaires aimed at serving a specific objective, not at serving Truth as a whole.
A slight evil should be forgiven for the sake of realizing a major interest. A temporary evil should be forgiven for the sake of realizing a long – term or permanent interest. Even a great evil should be accepted if its elimination would lead to a greater evil. In normal conditions, the avoidance of evil should come before the realization of interest. It is not enough that we should accept this concept in theory, but rather we have to apply it in practice, for many of the differences among the active Islamist groups are related to these balances.
When the Fiqh of Balances is Absent
If we do not apply the fiqh of balances, we will be closing many doors of good and blessing in our own faces, making the philosophy of rejection a way of dealing with everything, and taking self – isolation as a pretext for avoiding problems and shirking a confrontation with the adversary on his home ground.
The Holy Quran tells us that deeds are divided into higher lower orders before Allah, not one order only. Allah the Almighty says: “Do you make the giving of drink to pilgrims or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque equal to [the pious service of1 those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive in the Cause of Allah? They are not comparable in the sight of Allah, And Allah does not guide those who do wrong. Those who believe and suffer exile and strive in the Cause of Allah with their property and their persons have the highest rank in the sight of Allah. They are the people who will achieve [salvation]” (Al-Tawba: 19-20)
The fiqh of priorities requires that we know which issue is more worthy of attention, so that we may give it more effort and time than we give others.
Imam Al-Ghazali and the Fiqh of Priorities
In his book “Al-Ihiya”‘, Imam Al-Ghazali criticized those who were content with worship and did not pay attention to the ranks of deeds
Neglecting the order of prominence in good deeds falls under evil conduct. An individual may even find himself obliged to do only one of two compulsory things, or forced to do two things with a very limited time for one and ample time for the other: if he does not preserve their order, then he is deceived. “The similar instances are countless, for obedience and disobedience [of the commands of Allah] are both obvious. What is really ambiguous is giving precedence to some forms of obedience over others , such as giving prominence to faridas over nafilas; to individual duties over collective duties to a collective duty with no one to fulfill it over that fulfilled by other people; to the more important individual duties over those which have a lesser importance, to what cannot be postponed over what can be postponed;
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Judgment on Preferred Worships
Ibn Al-Qayyim examined various opinions on: which worships are better, are they the hardest to perform, or the more beneficial? ” He judged that there is no such thing as an absolutely preferred worship but there is a time at which a worship was preferred most.(2) In times of famine, providing food is the best deed that brings a Muslim closer to Allah. When infidels invade a Muslim country, jihad is the best deed, followed by providing mujahids (performers of jihad) with arms and money. When scholars die and there is nobody to succeed them, I learning religion is the greatest act for which a Muslim may I seek reward from Allah and have his fellow believers’ praise his is how deeds should be balanced against one another, according to their competent merits.